Justice Secretary gives Sister Patricia more time to appeal deportation

Sister has said she will continue her missionary work while she awaits the outcome of her appeal.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has said Sister has until June 18 to leave the Philippines, not today as the Bureau of Immigration previously ordered.

In an order issued hours after Sister Patricia appealed the forfeiture of her missionary visa before the Department of Justice (DOJ), Guevarra said the 30-day deadline imposed by the BI for the 71-year-old to leave the country was interrupted by her filing of a motion for reconsideration.

Along with her lawyer Kathy Panguban, Sister Patricia appeared at the DOJ today (Friday, May 25) to file a 24-page petition for review.

“The appeal that we filed before the under the rules this will stay the execution of the order of the BI, therefore the missionary visa of Sister is still valid, pending, the decision of the Department of Justice,” Panguban told reporters after filing the petition.

The Australian, who is accused of taking part in political activities, risked facing fresh deportation proceedings had she refused to leave the country by today (Friday, May 25).

The BI issued its first leave order against Sister Patricia on April 23. Her camp received it on April 25, kicking off the 30-day period. She appealed this first order on April 30.

On May 17, the BI sustained its first leave order, denied the nun’s appeal, and directed her to leave within the period it first provided. However, she only received a copy of this order yesterday. 

Today, she took her case before the Office of the Justice Secretary, challenging what she called a baseless revocation of her missionary visa.

“Upon denial of said motion for reconsideration, petitioner had a remaining period of 25 days from 24 May 2018, the date when she was served a copy of the order denying her motion for reconsideration, or until 18 June 2018 within which to leave the country,” Guevarra’s issuance said.

Meanwhile, Guevarra gave the immigration bureau 10 days, without extensions, to comment on the nun’s appeal and to pass all the records of the case to his department. Sister Patricia would then be given five days to file her reply to the BI’s comment.  

While her deportation case remains under appeal, Sister Patricia said she would continue with her missionary work as a human rights defender.